Lindsey Buckingham

Born on October 3rd, 1949, in the upper-middle class suburb of Atherton, near Palo Alto, CA, Lindsey was the third, and youngest, son of Morris and Rutheda Buckingham. Morris, (known as Buck to his friends) owned a coffee plant, and was also a member of the Menlo Country Club, where Jeff, Greg and Lindsey were all encouraged

Lindsey Buckingham, Age 8.
to swim competitively (Greg went on to win a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City). The first Elvis record Lindsey remembers hearing was "Heartbreak Hotel," and he began playing along to Jeff's 45's on a toy Mickey Mouse guitar. Once he'd taught himself to play a few songs on this, his parents bought him a $35 Harmony guitar. Jeff's record collection became so extensive that Lindsey recalls, "It was like having the story of rock n' roll unfurled in front of me."

By the age of 13, Lindsey had developed a keen interest in folk music, and spent much time practicing the fingerpicking styles of the Kingston Trio. At 15, he sang and played guitar with a small folk group (as shown in one of the photos of 'Cradle' liner notes). He attended Menlo-Atherton High School, a year behind Stevie Nicks, and was 'a stand-out performer' with the Varsity Water Poloists and the on the swim team. In his Junior year, he sang a few songs with Stevie at a Young Life gathering, and in his Senior year Buckingham, Nicks (who was by then a student at San Jose State College), and three other friends formed a group called The Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band. Since his abilities on guitar leaned towards the fingerpicking styles of folk and bluegrass, Buckingham was soon transferred to bass, "since he found it extremely difficult to master the then fashionable heavy rock style." Fritz was quite popular at the high school, and played at various school functions, (including their 1967 graduation party) before moving on to become "one of the major local acts in the San Francisco Bay music scene" in 1968. The band opened for such acts as Santana, Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. When he was 21, Lindsey remembers, "Some aunt that our family

Fritz from Javier Pacheco's Q&A
Click for a larger version.
didn't even know left my brothers and I each $10,000 when she died, so I went out and got an Ampex four-track with a half inch tape-- y'know, a professional machine-- and a console, and took it up to my father's warehouse, and learned how to work machines, basically, from that."

In 1971, when Fritz disbanded, Lindsey and Stevie became romantically involved. They both dropped out of San Jose State College (where he had majored in Art; she in Speech Communications) and moved to L.A. together to pursue their dream of making music. Before moving, however, Lindsey was struck with a year-long bout of mononucleosis, and he spent much of this time developing his technique on the electric guitar. Once in L.A., they eventually secured a deal with Polydor records and released an album, Buckingham Nicks, in November of 1973. The record didn't cause much of a stir, and the label declined the duo's desire to make a second one. To make ends meet, Stevie waitressed and cleaned houses while Lindsey "hustled ads over the phone for a non-existent business products directory," and also toured with Don Everly's back-up band, singing Phil's parts. Money was so tight that Lindsey and Richard Dashut used to

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, 1973
take turns bouncing checks at sympathetic local coffee shops. As Richard recalls: "I had moved out to one-bedroom apartment near Fairfax. After Buckingham Nicks bombed, Stevie and Lindsey ran out of money, so they moved in with me...and we worked on demos for the next BN album-- 'So Afraid,' 'Monday Morning', and 'Rhiannon.'"

Buckingham and Nicks were asked to join Fleetwood Mac on New Year's Eve, 1974, after Mick Fleetwood heard 'Frozen Love' at a studio called Sound City. As Lindsey remembers: "It wasn't an easy decision; we believed in what we had going as a twosome, but we thought it over and we realized that we probably had a great deal to learn from these people, and that they could help us and we could help them...and we did it. " Their first album with the band, released in 1975, broke all sales records for Warner Brothers at that time, and the group toured extensively through 1975 and 76. By the time Rumours was released in 1977, Lindsey and Stevie had ended their long-term relationship, the McVie's were split, and Fleetwood had separated from his wife. "On the one hand, you had all these traumatic, personal problems that were going on for four out of five members of the group, and on the other hand you had this very special, magical chemistry between five people which was something that you didn't come by every day.... we had to put all the personal problems off in one corner of the room and get on with what we knew was important, because it was just too good a situation to let go by." (Side note: it was also at this time when Lindsey encountered model Carol Ann Harris, whom he lived with until 1984.)

It took the band
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Lindsey Buckingham
Source: www.joesia.com.
over a year to make their next album, Tusk, in 1979, and Lindsey was determined not to just make a "Rumours Two." He did much of the work for the album at home, and indeed, much of his material "appeared to go out of its way to shun commercial considerations." Richard Dashut, co-producer of the album and close friend of Lindsey's, agrees that, "I think the other members really just went along with it for the sake of the band, as opposed to really agreeing with where his head was at." Tusk never reached the mega-sales status of Rumours, but it has since become the favorite album of several members of the group. Buckingham received special thanks for his production work on the record, and Tusk was dedicated to Mick's father, Wing Commander Fleetwood, who had passed away that year, and Lindsey's father, Morris, who passed away in February, 1974. After touring for nearly a year, the band released a live album in 1980, although Lindsey was initially a bit hesitant about the idea: "A lot of groups have been putting out live records recently, and I would hate for someone to think that this is just another in the pack."

Aside from working on Tusk, Buckingham also produced albums for Walter Egan and John Stewart in the late 70's. In 1981, Lindsey released his first solo record, Law And Order, on which he played nearly every instrument, and had guest appearances by bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie. In 1982, Fleetwood Mac released Mirage, an album that many critics felt was lacking the vitality of previous releases. The album went to Number One for 5 weeks, while the group went on a relatively short tour to promote it.

It was becoming increasingly clear that Buckingham much preferred the studio to the road, and enjoyed it even more when he was there


Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham
Source: www.joesia.com.
on his own. In 1984, after ending a 7 year relationship with Carol Ann Harris, he released his second solo project, Go Insane. He admits that much of the subject matter "just deals with having broken up with somebody and having someone who exhibits behavior that is hard to deal with daily." Rolling Stone hailed the album as a 'tuneful triumph': "If Lindsey Buckingham really is following in the footsteps of his idol , Brian Wilson, then Go Insane is his Pet Sounds: possibly his least commercial work, but also his most daring and savory."

By the time Fleetwood Mac reunited in 1987 to make Tango In The Night, Lindsey had been halfway into his third solo album, and he begrudgingly handed over much of the material to the band. He and partner Richard Dashut turned their attention to producing the album, and much of the work was done at Lindsey's house in Bel Air. At the time, all band members thought that making the album was a healthy, healing experience, and that the result was a much stronger effort than Mirage had been. (It was to become their biggest-selling album since Rumours.) Soon there was pressure to go on the road; at this point, however, Buckingham wanted to devote himself to his solo work, and refused to tour. After Buckingham and Nicks had a "physically ugly" encounter during a band meeting, John McVie sheepishly recalls the incident on August 7, 1987 which led to Lindsey's decision to leave the group:" [I said] 'Lindsey, why don' t you just leave'...he left...but what I meant was, 'Why don't you just leave the room!' That's true." Lindsey was replaced by Rick Vito and Billy Burnette.

After leaving the group, he "took an entire year off, just to let the emotional dust settle. But once I got started on Out Of The Cradle, I got back some of the instincts that I'd put on the back burner." His third album was released in 1992, with Buckingham again singing all the vocals and playing all the instruments. He had spent the better part of 4 years holed up in his windowless studio (although he admits to leaving occasionally to spend time with girlfriend Cheri Caspari, whom he'd met while making Go Insane in '84.) Many reviews of the album raved that it was LB's best work since Tusk. Many of the songs seemed to deal with the loss of both his father, Morris, and his brother, Greg, who died suddenly in 1990. In early 1993, after reuniting with Fleetwood Mac to sing 'Don't Stop' at Clinton's Inaugural Gala, Lindsey got a band together (which included Janet Robin and Neale Heywood) and took his music on the road, performing his own solo work as well as some Fleetwood Mac favorites.
1998 Copyright Lisa Adelson
Lindsey Buckingham, 1997
Photo Lisa Adelson
According to Rolling Stone, "United by Buckingham's undying melodic ingenuity, the material all flowed together rather seamlessly. Having put FM behind him once and for all at the inaugural celebration, Buckingham looked and played like a man creatively emancipated."

Lindsey Buckingham has reunited with the group and accompanied them on their 1997 tour. A new solo album was postponed due to the reunion. However, that album was the reason that the band reunited. After working with Mick Fleetwood on a song for the solo album, Lindsey and Mick found that they had much to discuss, and that they were conducting their lives in a different and more positive manner than they had been doing back in 1987, when Lindsey had left the band. "It was great seeing him again. He wasn't doing drugs, he was in a totally different space. We had a lot to talk about and all the care and love that had always been there came to the surface," shared Buckingham. Fleetwood described their renewed relationship: "We started from ground zero as people, and I now know Lindsey in a way I never got close to before . . . . It wasn't just music; we talked and hugged and it was a whole major deal." What was supposed to be a three month project turned into a year, and the two eventually decided to invite John McVie and Christine McVie to assist them. The chemistry within the band was absolutely still there, and this began the wheels turning towards a full-fledged reunion.

Lindsey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Fleetwood Mac on January 12, 1998 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Following the Fleetwood Mac reunion, Lindsey returned to work on his postponed solo album, which is said to be
1998 Copyright Gypsy
Fleetwood Mac, RRHOF, 1998
Photo Gypsy
very much a solo effort with Lindsey writing and producing it, and includes at least some instrumentals pieces. "Everything sounds great to me, classic Mr. Buckingham, I think," says friend and continuing cohort Neale Heywood in his Penguin Q&A Session, who also adds that Lindsey has settled very happily into his new role as father. On July 8, 1998, Lindsey, along with girlfriend Kristen Messner, welcomed a son, William Gregory Buckingham, weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces. The year 2000 saw Lindsey and Kristen, now married, welcome a second child into the Buckingham family fold as well.

Buckingham made a special guest appearance at Stevie Nicks' Arizona Heart Institute benefit show in September 2000, and is anticipated to release his next solo album, tentatively titled Gift of Screws (after an Emily Dickinson poem), in the Spring of 2001. Strong indications are that a tour, possibly even taking Lindsey overseas, may follow the album's release.


Thanks to Lesley Thode for contributing to this biography
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